Matt Taibbi on the Donald Trump Convention

Matt TaibbiIt wasn’t what we expected. We thought Donald Trump’s version of the Republican National Convention would be a brilliantly bawdy exercise in Nazistic excess.

We expected thousand-foot light columns, a 400-piece horn section where the delegates usually sit (they would be in cages out back with guns to their heads). Onstage, a chorus line of pageant girls in gold bikinis would be twerking furiously to a techno version of “New York, New York” while an army of Broadway dancers spent all four days building a Big Beautiful Wall that read winning, the ceremonial last brick timed to the start of Donald’s acceptance speech…

But nah. What happened instead was just sad and weird, very weird. The lineup for the 2016 Republican National Convention to nominate Trump felt like a fallback list of speakers for some ancient UHF telethon, on behalf of a cause like plantar-wart research.

—Matt Taibbi
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4 thoughts on “Matt Taibbi on the Donald Trump Convention

  1. WOW. That article. Just, WOW.

    There’s like two sides of Taibbi, the reporter and the social critic. And while I enjoy both, I usually prefer the reporting side. If I gave him truth serum, I imagine he’d agree. His books have enough space to combine the two; his articles are generally one or the other.

    That article was the longest piece of social criticism I can recall reading by him — and it fit in a little reporting. Some behind-the-scenes stuff on what life is like for reporters these days. He’s always had little snippets of how reporters regard stump speeches with pure boredom, and give blowhard candidates funny nicknames like “9/11’s Rudy Giuliani.” I don’t remember him ever writing so passionately about the pure misery behind journalistic nihilism.

    And he’s criticized the shallowness of political reporting many times before. Here, he goes right to the source; corporate ownership. The reporters themselves, they are not the problem. Some are good workers who want to do better, some are lazy and love being lazy, some are just punching the clock.

    It’s like when you get jerked around by phone support, or your insurer’s lawyers telling you you aren’t covered. Are the phone operators to blame? Are lawyers evil? No — they are just people doing what they do for a living. Most are just punching the clock. Are even the corporate CEOs to blame? They are probably rotten people, but no, they’re doing their jobs.

    The problem is a system which gives companies power over people instead of the other way around. And as long as they can cling to this power, they will use their employees as a means of increasing that power — not doing any kind of productive or satisfying work.

    God, I almost wish Taibbi would get this mad more often. But then I’d worry about his health. Being mad all the time is not good for you!

    • I didn’t see the article as all that different. He seems always to combine reporting with a nature outrage at it all. But there is something special about Trump. Taibbi’s been very open in his admiration of Trump as a candidate and his ability to work a crowd. So he probably sees the Trump phenomenon in a clearer way than other reporters who just want to dismiss it as the result of racism (which it largely is, but this boxes it all in too much). I did really enjoy reading the article. It was great.

      • No, the pieces were all the sort of thing he’s done before. They were just pulled together so brilliantly. He keeps trying to push himself further and further as a writer. And it’s a joy to read.

        Who the hell at “Rolling Stone” noticed this guy covering gangsters in Russia and thought “he’ll fit right in here”? That person is the greatest talent scout ever.

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